Today I completely blew the socks off a couple guys I know who underestimated me.
I love doing that. :)
Over the years I've come to learn about myself that if I don't do any physical labor for a while, I get antsy. Last week while I was away on vacation, I spent one morning working on my grandparent's farm. That felt good, but one morning doesn't really count, that's just a tease.
So I was itching to do some real work and get something tangible accomplished. A couple of my friends own a house nearby - they bought it as a fixer-upper and are now renovating it. I asked if they could use an extra hand with construction, and they said that more workers were always welcome. (I mean really, when would help not be welcome?)
Since today was a school holiday, I took the opportunity to work on the house with the guys. I showed up with nothing but my sunglasses and asked what I could do to help, and I could just see their brains working: "Okay, now what small task can we give her that she will be able to handle?" One of the guys was working on framing some walls, the other was working on air vents in the attic/roof area. They looked at each other, and I was afraid for a moment they were just going to have me hand them nails or something silly. Not that I'm a bad nail-and-tool-holder-and-hander-overer, I was just hoping for something more interesting....
As they looked around, scanning for a project for me, I saw a lightbulb go off for one of them. "Oh!" he said, "We need insulation done!" The other boy nodded vigorously, and I saw the thought processes whirr: "Okay, she should be able to handle this, the insulation just has to be stuffed inbetween the two by fours, and everything's already cut to the right size."
Well fine, I'll start with that.
I finished putting insulation in the walls of the back bedroom within a half hour, and I inquired about a staple gun or nail gun or something to attach the insulation to the joists. They let me have the stapler, but I saw the worried glances pass between them as I walked off with it.
I came back a half hour later with all fingers still intact, so there was a sigh of relief. But then an awkward pause: what shall we give her now?
Over the course of the afternoon as I proved myself I worked on more and more interesting jobs - I cut and trimmed pink foam insulation to fit in some tricky areas, I measured and cut two by fours for framing, I nailed in some dividers necessary to conform to the fire code.
By the end of the day, I had used such things as a tape measure, hammer, box knife, stapler, T-square, chop saw, circular saw, pneumatic nail gun. For each new tool I reached for, I was anxiously questioned: "Do you know how to do that? Have you used one of those before? Do you need me to show you how to run that?"
Answers being yes, yes, and no but thank you. Mostly I knew what I was doing. I needed a little help reloading the nail gun, but that was it. By the end of the day, they pretty much left me alone.
The guys bought me dinner to thank me for helping, and the day was pretty well summed up as we sat around the table in this comment:
"My god, woman, where did you come up with those circular saw skills?"
:) I'm an outlier, what can I say?